I'm Still Breathing





The irony in my song choice lies in my inability (or belief that I was incapable) of actually breathing last night. I tend to write these posts over a couple of days. It takes me time to think about what I want to say and how I want to say it even if my "readership" is me along with some friends and family. I chose this video a few days ago.

Just like everyone else, I have my good and bad days. Lately, I've had some really, really good days. According to my "Rate My Mood" app, I enjoyed nine days in a row without worry of physical concerns, with time well spent, and with my mood genuinely in the happy range. It is the longest stretch of "good" days I have experienced since the summer. My days surrounding those nine days weren't bad either. The rating scale is 1-5 and "fours" surrounded each side of the "fives" that I tracked, according to my graph. To say it simply, it was wonderful. I felt like myself again. It gave me promise.

And then last night my lip began to swell for no reason that I can think of. Maybe I got a bug bite. Maybe I was allergic to something I ate. I really don't know. What I do know is that I began to panic. I realize how irrational that sounds and again all I can do is tell you, "yes, I know my thoughts are irrational" and "no, I can't just say that to myself as a means to explain it away and avoid the thoughts that often begin to snowball in response". One thing you really have to understand is that this is exactly how all of this started for me...that stupid bee sting and the swelling that came with it.

And so my body responded with its fight or flight reactions. I was scared. My body temperature heated up. My legs and arms tingled. My head ached. My throat insisted that it was closing up shop for the night. I was sure it all was starting over again. In general I was pretty uncomfortable and this always seems extremely significant at night when I'm otherwise just trying to sleep.

It has been weeks since I've dealt with this level of panic. I've been pushing myself to be in the "discomfort now" so that I can be "comfortable" later zone. Accepting that I'm going to be uncomfortable committing to certain situations in order to relearn my place in functioning society has been an adjustment over these last months to say the least. The Rule of Opposites is another concept I've been working on which focuses exactly on what it sounds. I think both of these concepts have been crucial for me and my dealing with all of this. I don't think I could have had all those good days if I hadn't made the effort to work through these ideas. It's obviously still a work in progress, but I don't in anyway doubt the impact.

I would not give up all of those good days but when last nights' thoughts began their campaign against me...I forgot what to do. I haven't had to think about "dealing" for enough time that my mind was initially blank with responses. My workbook would tell me that this was okay because any situation like this gives me the chance to practice.

And so that's what I did for some hours during the night last night. Practiced dealing.

Once when I was coaching swim team one of my girls was walking off the bus when she somehow missed the last step and took a pretty hard fall onto the pavement. I jumped up from my seat and moved quickly toward the door to check on her. The bus driver reacted just as quickly, but was so startled she inadvertently bumped the lever that opens and closes the bus doors. The force of the bump set in motion the closing of the doors which managed to pin and split my body perfectly in half. My right leg and arm were set firmly inside the bus while my left arm and leg were set suspended in air outside the bus. It was comical. I can't even imagine how hilarious it must have looked from someone who might have seen what had happened. I looked like the coyote about to chase after the roadrunner in those first moments where he begins the movement of running but he doesn't actually move.

Lately, that's indicative of how I feel some days. Some days I feel like I'm trapped between the doors of a bus, unable to move forward. And then some days I feel like this.




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